In the very beginning, Ishmael gets into a little conversation with some friends about the war he was in as a kid in Sierra Leone. He briefly explains his experience in the war.
War happened. Everything was either guns shooting or people trying to survive. I may tell you about it sometime.
What happened in Siera Leone?
The story finally begins, and the conflict arises. Ishmael and his friends decided to form a rap group based on the music they loved. As they were doing so, the village that they once were in gets attacked without warning. From that point on, he had witnessed so much that it has traumatized him to the point where he has seen himself dead in his mind. It also has brought back many bad memories in which he wants to forget about.
Despite all these memories and struggles, Ishmael and his friends still have to find ways to survive. They end up hopping from village to village every day to find food and shelter. Luckily, they end up finding one to settle in. Or at least they thought.
We've gone far enough today. Let's just stay here.
Ishmael's crew's lives doesn't get any better at this point. As children, they have no choice but to be recruited for war. Let's just say that there are a lot of drugs being taken, weapon training, and lots of traumatization throughout the way.
This is too much fun!
You would think Ishmael and the boys would be stuck in this lifestyle forever, hence the amount of terror and crime that happens in their everyday lives. Well, they end up at the UNICEF Rehabilitation Center to try and get their lives straight. The plan would be to find ways to escape the country for a better life.
UNICEF REHABILITATION CENTER
After all that Ishmael has been through in his young life, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. A woman named Laura Simms ends up adopting him after he manages to catch a flight to the United States. Indeed, his life does get better. In the end, the title finally makes sense. Ishmael is "A Long Way Gone" from his home, in a happier place with better people.